8 Tips to Cleaning Up Your Diet On Board

22 January 2015 By Hillary Hoffower

Healthy eating — two words crew may easily scoff at. Who hastime for that and how is it even possible with a menu they don’t control?Eating on board doesn’t have to feel sinful — with the right effort anddedication, cleaning up your diet on board can be done. Just follow these eighttips:

Be a Goalie

Set a goal by figuring out how you want to clean up yourdiet based on your individual wants and needs. While some may strive to lose afew pounds, others may aim to cut out sugar or add more protein. It’s all aboutyou. As Amy Bourke, a chef on M/Y NorthernStar with a certificate in HealthCoaching through the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, puts it, “Thereis no one size fits all answer when it comes to diet. Food must be about theindividual and not one specific way of eating, and one person’s food can beanother person’s poison.”

One question to ask yourself is “When did you feel thebest?” as suggested by Katie Handyside, a personal trainer, sports nutritionistand health and body coach in Mallorca. Handyside, who holds a Master ofNutrition from the Cory Holly Institute in Vancouver, adds, “It’s notnecessarily about weight, but this can be a good start.”

Whatever your goal may be, make sure it benefits you andprovides incentive to stick to the plan.

Dear Diary

Track your goal so you don’t lose sight of it. Handysideadvises monitoring your progress every week, as it’s motivation to keep going.

A great way to do this is by keeping a food diary, whichBourke finds an insightful and interesting tool that helps you not only trackwhat you’re eating, but also figure out what foods work for you. “Record whatyou eat each day and how you feel after eating it and make any dietary changesaccordingly,” she says.

Ditch the Diet

Perhaps the most surprising and delightful tip on this listis to avoid dieting, which triggers overeating and causes some to find theygain more weight coming off a certain diet, says Bourke, who advises aiming forlong-term lifestyle changes instead.

“You do not have to eat clean one hundred percent of thetime and, in fact, striving for perfection is likely to end in rebellion andbinging on too much and eating the wrong types of food,” she says. “Aim to eatwell eighty to ninety percent of the time with the other ten to twenty percentdedicated to treats and the foods you enjoy but are not the healthiest.”

Eat Smart

Sure, this is an obvious one, but it doesn’t have to be allor nothing. Bourke’s motto? “Crowd out the crap” by adding more healthy foods ratherthan eliminating foods. “If you consciously add in more good foods, yousubconsciously crowd out the not so good stuff,” she maintains.

Try focusing on incorporating more vegetables. Handysidesays your plate should mainly consist of veggies, along with proteins and goodfats such as extra virgin olive oil, eggs and oily fish such as salmon.

However, everyone can benefit from eating a little lessmeat, dairy, sugar and processed foods, maintains Bourke, and you can snacksmarter by substituting salty chips and the like for whole foods, such ashummus and crackers. She suggests cutting back a little at a time, such asadopting a meat-free Monday to give your digestive system a rest fromprocessing meat.

Another trick is to eat smaller portions by using smallerplates with smaller utensils, such as teaspoons for soups, adds Handyside.

Don’t Let TemptationsSeduce You

“If you don’t want to eat it or drink it, then don’t putyourself around it,” says Handyside. Easier said than done, right?

The key here is self-discipline. Handyside stresses stayingout of the galley and away from the goodie cupboard, adding that you shouldhide tempting foods out of sight. Better yet, have your chef do it for you soyou don’t know where the foods are. This can be helpful if self-control is yourenemy — after all, out of sight, out of mind.

Listen to Your Body

It’s simple: eat when you’re hungry and stop when your body feelssatisfied. If the food is there, and you’re not hungry, plate it up and save itfor later, Bourke says. “Listen to your own body and feed it with adequateenergy, otherwise you can trigger a primal drive to overeat,” she says.

Although busy schedules may make it difficult to eat slowly,she suggests slowing down the pace of your eating when time allows, which willmake you more likely to consume less and feel your fullness. Also focus onbeing more mindful when eating. Get off your technical devices and ditch thedistractions, which Bourke says can lessen the satisfaction you can get fromfood and lead to overeating. Instead, engage in conversation with yourcrewmates, which can help you both eat more slowly and be less distracted.

Watch Your Drink

Since crew often spend long hours in the sun, hydration isespecially important. The benefits of water are endless, says Bourke, fromweight loss to flushing out toxins to increasing alertness. Make drinking ahabit and begin your morning with a couple glasses of it, she maintains.

“Starting your day with a squeeze of lemon juice in hotwater is like a mini detox that kickstarts your digestive system and sets it upfor maximum nutrient absorption,” she adds.

Also avoid drinking your calories, both in the form of softdrinks and fruit juices and alcohol, which also makes you sluggish and craveunhealthy comfort foods, Bourke says. Limit your alcohol intake and, if youlike flavored drinks, Bourke suggests adding fresh fruit and mint leaves tosparkling water or making your own fresh juices if you have access to a juicer.

“Just try to make them at least eighty percent vegetables toavoid too much of a sugar hit,” she says.

Time it Right

With long work days and changing schedules, crew often facethe possibility of eating at random times. If you miss dinner because you’recleaning an unexpected spill, you may find yourself wolfing down a bowl ofsugary cereal at 1 a.m. While it can be difficult to time your meals, it’simportant to try and do so.

Handyside recommends leaving around five hours between mealsand 12 hours minimum between your evening meal and breakfast the followingmorning, as this allows your body to begin to burn its fat stores.

Just remember: every body is different. Do what’s right foryours. As Bourke puts it, “If you do one thing for your health this year, learn tolisten to your body and be aware of how certain foods make you feel.” Your bodywill thank you.